United States v. Hall

472 F.2d 261 (5th Cir. 1972)


The District Court entered its final order for the Duval school board to desegregate its schools in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Swann. The court also retained jurisdiction to enter such orders as might be necessary in the future. Ribault high school was marked for desegregation, and it was paired with Raines high school. After the order was put into effect, racial violence was so bad that the Ribault had to be closed on a number of occasions. The school superintendent and the sheriff filed a petition for injunctive relief. The petition alleged that certain black adults had caused or abetted the unrest and violence by their on and off campus activities. Eric Hall (D) was identified as one of the offenders and a member of the Black Front. In an ex parte hearing, the court entered an order. At an ex parte session on March 5, 1972, the district court entered an order providing in part: 

1. All students of Ribault Senior High School, whether in good standing or under suspension and other persons acting independently or in concert with them and having notice of this order are hereby enjoined and restrained from (a) Obstructing or preventing the attendance in classes of students and faculty members; 

(b) Harassing, threatening or intimidating any faculty, staff member or employee of Ribault Senior High School or the Duval County School Board; 

(c) Harassing, threatening or intimidating any student en route to and from school; 

(d) Destroying or attempting to destroy, defacing or attempting to deface any structure, buildings, materials or equipment of Ribault Senior High School or the Duval County School Board; 

(e) Committing any other act to disrupt the orderly operation of Ribault Senior High School or any other school of the Duval County School System; 

2. Until further order of this Court, no person shall enter any building of the Ribault Senior High School or go upon the school's grounds except the following: 

(a) Students of Ribault Senior High School while attending classes or official school functions; 

(b) The faculty, staff, and administration of Ribault Senior High School and other employees of the Duval County School Board having assigned duties at the school; 

(c) Persons having business obligations which require their presence on the school's premises; 

(d) Parents of Ribault Senior High School students or any other person who has the prior permission of the principal or his designee to be present on the school's premises; 

(e) Law enforcement officials of the City of Jacksonville, the State of Florida or the United States Government.

The order then provided that anyone having notice of the order and who in turn violates it would be subject to arrest, and punishment for contempt. The sheriff was ordered to serve copies of the order on the seven named persons in the action including D. D was neither a party plaintiff nor a party defendant in the original litigation. The court’s issuance of the injunctive order did not join D nor any other persons named in the order as parties to that original action. Four days after issuance, D violated the order on purpose. D was then arrested and found guilty of criminal contempt and sentenced to 60 days in jail. This appeal resulted.